Tuesday, May 1, 2007


The Faculty of Philosophy, where I teach in Bandung, is surrounded by local powers. It is surrounded by divine forces: the Catholic St.Angela Church, which was recently renovated; a mesjid (i.e. mosque), I forgot its name, for Friday afternoon prayers it is too small so at Fridays it occupies the street as well and often the early morning solat wakes me up; and the office of the Salvation Army. And it is surrounded by armed forces: the military police; the secret police, where I have to go and report myself every time I renew my visa to undergo a security check (red tape that leads to informal taxation); and the traffic police, from time to time wrecked cars are parked in front (which leads to more informal taxation, at least if the driver wants his car returned, and tires are flattened to avoid the car to be taken before payment is made).

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